Do cities like Pune need to bring back the Gandhian way of protest to handle the multitude of urban issues that plague citizens?
Issues of water supply, waste segregation, potholes, public transport are still a bone of contention with almost everybody.
What if our citizens unite and adopt “Gandhigiri” to draw the attention of authorities and service providers to have their city concerns addressed?
Pune365 posed this proposition to activists and informed citizens to gauge their reactions:
Nikhil Kadam, Social Activist says, “Satyagraha came into existence in 1906, but the word caught attention in 1908. It took several years for people to understand the concept and follow it. The scenario is much more different and people have their different ways of dealing with it.
The government authorities have become so shameless that forget about non violence even violence isn’t working on them.”
There is no way giving them roses or sending them gifts going to work today. In my opinion it can only work for public transport, as we’re not able to use it anyway!
The only public transport can work is by boycotting it and switch to cycles. Once we boycott the public transport, they won’t have income to carry on the activity, and this way they’ll learn their lesson, Kadam added.
Jaya Banerjee, Social Activist opines, “Mahatma Gandhi, the Father of our Nation, inspires many people and many ideologies. During his lifetime, he through his way of life and his work, propagated many ideas which turned into ideologies, some are appreciated, some not.”
In my mind, the Gandhian ideologies relevant to India today are ‘Cleanliness is next to Godliness’ and his ideas of religious pluralism and nonviolence. He also propagated gender equality, though that’s been debatable.
The Swach Bharat Mission by the current government is inspired by and dedicated to Mahatma Gandhi, and this cleanliness is one of the most important issues in our city, and country. We as citizens need to do as much as we can towards cleanliness, and towards preserving nature and not violently abusing nature cause we can.
Look at our rivers- polluted. Look at our roads and streets- dirty and littered. The administration and citizens are the only way we can achieve cleaner surroundings, the onus is not on anyone person, it’s on everybody.
Banerjee further added that Mahatma Gandhi spoke of Non-violence and Religious Pluralism, and look what’s happening around us even more, today, Violence in the name of religion is growing by the day.
He opposed archaic traditions against women, and that’s another thing that society needs to work together on. It is much better than it was a few decades ago, but we are yet far away from equality in action and perception.
Gandhi and many others engineered freedom for our country, we gave ourselves a Constitution, a democracy. Let’s all, each day, do whatever we can to uphold this very fabric of democracy, Jaya added.
To suddenly adopt the method of gandhigiri will be very difficult for us, but it is the need of the hour. As we’re done trying each and everything to get our basic essential rights in place, says Pretti Agarwal, freelancer.
It is time that authorities take a serious note of the civic issues we face with each passing day, otherwise, the day is not far where we start boycotting things and the government has no alternative other than providing good service to the citizens.
The increasing corruption is another thing which should be brought under control. The problem is that even if we decide to fight everything with Gandhisim, it would be a huge task to convince all the citizens to be part of it, Agarwal added.
During monsoon, few volunteers had taken up gandhigiri to get the potholes filled in the area, says Sumit Patil, MPSC aspirant.
We gathered a group of few volunteers who regularly commute through that pothole ridden road. Despite repeated complaints, no action was taken.
That’s when the team decided to decorate the potholes with flowers and we tweeted regularly to PMC and to our surprise the road was repaired within a week.
Similarly, we have decided to do it for Pune’s major issue of traffic and electricity. We have decided to call the MSEDCL every day for the constant power failures every alternate day for few months.
And for traffic we have started distributing cards to any police constable who is found to be just standing at the side of the road, despite, a chaos at that junction, Sumit added.
#All views expressed in this article are those of the individual respondents and Pune365 does not necessarily subscribe to them
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